OneJet launched new direct flights from Pittsburgh to West Palm Beach with larger equipment and a longer reach. My family and I had a last-minute opportunity to try the product. For once, we are going to write this review as a pair. Spoiler-alert: We loved it.
As we are tag-teaming this report, Kyle will go first.
Based in Pittsburgh, we have loved watching the development of OneJet and I am a fan for three reasons:
- The product is superior and feels exclusive.
- The flights are direct and between markets that should have direct flights but don’t. Routes are just a little too far for driving but way too close to justify a connection.
- The prices are fair and more than competitive considering they have the only direct flight on many of their routes.
Their model has been reserved for flights that take about an hour to fly or about 6-7 hours to drive with one-ways running between $189-400. I reviewed the business model and why it’s really smart in a Pittsburgh-Louisville trip report.
I interviewed OneJet’s CEO, Matthew Maguire, in the past so when the opportunity came to try the service (we intended to fly Spirit into nearby Fort Lauderdale) we reached out to Matthew and he was kind enough to provide seats on a flight the next day.
OneJet offers once daily service to South Florida departing at 11:20 AM touching down in the sun at 1:50 PM. The flight is an easy two hours and change but saves those intending to go to Palm Beach (and not elsewhere in South Florida) the extra hour drive from Fort Lauderdale or 90 minutes from Miami International. The return flight turns on the same aircraft from the same gate, once daily as well departing at 2:20 PM and touching down in Steel city at 4:50 PM.
When the carrier launched Pittsburgh to Kansas City and West Palm Beach it was clear that larger equipment would be required but I wasn’t aware how much larger. The images looked to be something closer to a 15 passenger private jet but instead they fly Embraer 135/145 aircraft.
The Embraer 145 we flew had an extra six-foot of fuselage according to the pilot but it looked like even more than that. There was at least as much space at the back of the aircraft that could have dubbed as a mini-combi (half cargo/half passenger aircraft) if there was a restroom at the front of the aircraft instead of solely at the back of the plane.
The spacing wasn’t consistent throughout the plane, some seats were swimming in leg room and others were about the same as domestic first class. Mr. Maguire noted that this particular aircraft had an unusual seating arrangement. I doubt it will remain this mixed configuration going forward.
Unlike the rest of the short flights OneJet runs on smaller aircraft, the West Palm Beach and Kansas City routes have a flight attendant, snacks on board and a beverage cart. Of course there is no charge for any of it and most of the other passengers had either a cocktail or wine.
For a relatively new flight, I was surprised that the flight out of Pittsburgh was about half full. We waited in the gate area and counted heads as they boarded back to Pittsburgh, the flight had sold 24 of the 30 seats on the plane which makes more sense coming from West Palm Beach back to Pittsburgh after a long weekend (Easter weekend no less) than it does going out of Pittsburgh on a Monday. The 80% load factor that Matthew mentioned in our previous correspondence held water which was impressive to me for both a new route and one that is twice the distance and five times the amount of seats as their other routes.
Now for my (Carly’s) part.
No matter how often we are up in the air or how many miles we fly, the nervous flier in me has never gone away. The thought of smaller airplanes and private jets does not allure me, however tell me that its direct and I’m all ears. I was excited to try OneJet for the first time as a family after hearing Kyle rave on about his past experiences but also anxious about flying in a smaller aircraft.
I love how laid back their whole process is. With smaller passenger loads the result was a smooth, speedy boarding process and a pretty quiet flight. Lucy really enjoyed her experience too. The snacks and service were a huge hit with our four-year old. She recommends you try the Pop Chips they were here favorite.
The odd configuration of this particular jet meant anyone seated past row 3 had a smaller seat pitch, but the seats themselves were nice and on a fairly open flight, it left for plenty of room to spread out.
Even though I tried my best to stay calm, I panicked a few times through some of turbulence. There were a few bumps throughout the flight and in my typical flight behavior, I would glance over to Kyle with the look of fear plastered on my face. He enjoys reflecting a look of fear back at me in an attempt to further mess with my emotions. Through the patches of turbulence I just kept reminding myself, “this is a nonstop flight into beautiful, sunny PBI.” and quickly I was over it.
You can’t beat the price either. When we were shopping our flights into Florida for our surprise trip to Colombia, OneJet came in at half the price of Southwest. We fly to Florida often and with our Southwest Companion Pass, we usually find ourselves flying SWA. If OneJet can get me there for half the price on a nonstop flight, I will gladly fly with my sweaty palms.
The ability to work for the duration of the flight was a big plus too. The WiFi connection was solid the entire flight. I can see why my husband is such a huge fan of OneJet. For the easy process, the service and the price OneJet is a solid competitor in this market and one I look forward to jetting off with again.
Have you tried OneJet yet? What did you think of the service? How do you like this jet when compared with the smaller 6-8 seat aircraft? Where should they fly next?